Three times in the New Testament we are told that "Abraham believed God" (see: Galatians 3 verse 6; Romans 4 verse 3 and James 2 verse 23). The phrase "Abraham believed God" is taken from a passage in the Old Testament which is found at Genesis 15 verse 6.
When I read the verse in Romans this week, it kept playing over and over in my mind. What does it mean to believe God? Christians profess to believe in God: that He exists, that the Bible is true; that His sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we could be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God. But, do we believe God on a daily basis?
Believing God when the bills are due
Many of us Christians have areas where, if we are honest with ourselves, we do not believe God. One common example is in the area of finances. For most of us, there is never enough of money: to pay school fees, bills, car expenses, food, the mortgage. We worry. We despair. But we know that God said:
"...do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6 verses 25-27)
In fact, we have memorised this scripture, know it by heart and can recite it correctly in order to win our church's Bible quiz challenge.
But faith in a time of lack or crisis is too big of an ask for many of us. After all, how can I trust God that my bills are going to be handled when all I see around me are "past due" notices and notices of foreclosure? Here it is that there isn't enough money to go around and God wants me to tithe or give an offering to the church and to believe that he will help me survive the other monthly expenses?
Maybe it's in the area of relationship. Here you are, thirty-something, you have been waiting for God to lead you to your spouse for years and it feels like everyone around you is getting married and as far as you can see there is no prospective partner on the horizon. Believe God? How? Doesn't God see that your biological clock is not just ticking any more but the alarm is going off?
Believing God in rough times is counter-intuitive. It is not natural. It is not normal. It goes against the grain. It usually involves ignoring that your senses tell you, the present reality, previous experiences and the words and advice of others. It can mean putting God's Word above what appears to be the logical or "reasonable" outcome. It usually means coming to the end of yourself and saying to God: "God, I can't see the solution here, the future looks dark. Instead of getting better, things look like they could get worse BUT I know what you have said in your Word and I CHOOSE to believe you."
Then act like you believe it. Bring your actions in line. Do what He says in His Word. Stop worrying. Thank God for what He will do. Speak about what God is going to do as if it is already done. Your feelings will fall in line with the decision and resolution you have made.
Things may not change immediately, but you would have changed. You would have enlarged your faith. You would have trusted God in the situation in an active way.
Next time, when things get overwhelming, consider that prayer and make the decision to believe God.
Sharma considers herself a child of the Caribbean, having visited, studied, worked and lived in several Caribbean islands. But when she arrived in New Zealand, she discovered that she is also a kiwi at heart. She holds a PhD in Law from the Victoria University of Wellington.
Sharma Taylor's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sharma-taylor.html